Monica at the Ourense International Film Festival, which is one of the 10 biggest film festivals in Spain

Brazilian filmmaker Monica Demes, who graduated from the David Lynch MFA in 2016, has been winning awards and gaining attention at international film festivals for the film she created while a student at MUM.

Her film, Lilith’s Awakening, won best director from the Iowa Motion Picture Association, best director from the Optical Theatre Festival in Rome, and best film and best director from Festival Boca do Inferno in São Paulo, Brazil.

On the set with cinematographer Gregor Kresal ’16 and actress Sophia Woodward

Lilith’s Awakening is a modern-day vampire story where the vampire is a symbol for women’s empowerment. The cast included MUM student Sophia Woodward as the protagonist and Brazilian pop singer Barbara Eugenia as Lilith. MFA student Gregor Kresal was the cinematographer. Monica gives much of the credit for her success to the David Lynch MFA.

With filmmaker David Lynch

“I had full support of Professor Dorothy Rompalske when I was working on the screenplay and on the editing, as well as from Michael Barnard, the director of the program,” said Monica. “And I had great psychological support from program co-founder Joanna Plafsky. Of course the advice from David Lynch was also great.”

Being interviewed on CNN about Lilith’s Awakening

In spite of being a student film made with a very low budget, Lilith’s Awakening has been competing among the first line of professional horror and art films. Monica hopes to find distribution for the film after making the 2017 film festival rounds.

Monica also appreciates the personal growth she experienced while she was a student at MUM. “MUM had a great impact on my life, not only because I love Fairfield and the film reflects the love I felt for the Midwest, but also because Transcendental Meditation helped me in my creative process and in making me feel confident that I would accomplish my goal,” she said.

Monica is currently working on two screenplays – both are thrillers with women protagonists.


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